Improvement of order picking operations in distribution centers by focusing on floor layout and product storage location

Harumiko Sumi, Shuhei Inada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Due to the rapid growth of electronic commerce via the Internet, there is a need to streamline the supply chain in order to reduce product distribution costs and shorten delivery lead times. Among these, the role of distribution centers that connect physical and commercial distribution has become more important. Improvement in work efficiency in the distribution centers has also become an important theme. Aware of such problems, we focus on order picking operations where products are collected based on the customer order since it is one of the most labor-intensive activities in the distribution center. We consider methods to shorten the average traveling distance of order-picking operators from two perspectives: 1) Improving the floor layout of the distribution center, and 2) introducing better management rules to determine the storage position of products. In the first half of the paper, the mathematical model to evaluate the average traveling distance of the picker is proposed. The model proposed assumes that the width of the aisle and the size of the shelf are sufficiently small, and obtains the value of the traveling distance analytically. In addition, improvement measures are considered from the two perspectives stated above, and are evaluated by comparing with the case in conventional Traditional Layout with horizontal and vertical aisles. In the second half of the paper, two improvement measures combining the two perspectives are proposed based on the results of the first half of the paper. Both measures move the accumulation point of products to the center of the lower side of the floor. In addition, the first measure adopts the addition of a diagonal aisle on the floor and class-based management to determine the storage position of products. The second measure executes class-based storage in an area where the work floor is divided using diagonal straight lines, which means being equidistant from the accumulation point of products. As a result, this paper clarifies that the two improvement measures proposed in the second half of the paper shorten the average traveling distance by 25% or more compared to case in conventional Traditional Layout.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Japan Industrial Management Association
Volume71
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Class-based storage
  • Distribution center
  • Floor layout
  • Order picking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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